Friday, November 22, 2013

Do I Really Need Another Dalmatian?

Can I MANAGE another puppy?  The little brownie boy is looking very nice, but of course there's still lots of time for things to go wrong.  His bite could be off, his tail could be too high, he might not have two testicles descended, he might not be a sound mover, he could add ticking and screw up his markings, on and on.  I had originally hoped he would not be show quality, so I wouldn't be tempted to keep him, but now . . .

I could wait until Amery's litter next year, in case the right brownie boy was there, or I could keep Fulton until then, and make the decision later.  I've raised a lot of pups that I didn't keep permanently and could do it again.  I really enjoy taking pups through Puppy Classes, and there's something so cheery about having a pup around - but it's so much work, and Max is still a puppy - even though he just celebrated his first birthday.

Visitors scheduled for this weekend.  The pups are REALLY cute now.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

We Made It!

Pups are 23 days old today, the age at which they should be safe from Canine Herpes.  Many adult dogs and most show dogs have been exposed to the disease and developed an immunity to it.  They show no symptoms and it's a non-issue for them.  For baby pups however, it is usually fatal.  Puppies don't have body temperatures high enough to kills the virus, so if their mother has been exposed but doesn't have sufficient immunity, she can pass it on to them.  She will be just fine, but the pups will sicken and die, often between 2 and 3 weeks of age.

Some years ago we had a gorgeous litter out of a bitch I leased from a friend.  Pups all heard, had complete trim, and beautiful markings.  On day 18 the first two pups showed symptoms and were dead in a few hours.  The littermates all died within the next few days.  If you've heard of "fading puppies", this would be one of the causes.  It was a horrible experience, one I'll never get over, right up there with losing my first Dal during a botched caesarian.  The dam of the litter went on to have two more litters, both healthy, but not bred by me.  I just couldn't do it.  Intellectually I knew that the chances of a repeat were slim to none - but I just couldn't take that chance. 

Losing a litter to herpes is uncommon, but is always a possibility.  Losing a second litter is very unlikely - so they say, but there is always that fear lurking in the back of my mind.  There's no vaccination for Herpes, so no way to actually prevent it.  I keep my whelping box really warm (probably doesn't help but makes ME feel better) and wait for the day the pups are 23 days old, a magical number to me, an age where they should be able to fight off the virus if they are exposed to it. 

We made it!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Three Weeks Old

Three weeks old yesterday, and the pups are growing like weeds.  Tonight I will take the door panel out of the whelping box so the pups have access to the whole pen.  I'll put a low panel on the front of the pen, high enough to keep the pups in, but easy for Nena to jump over.  The pups love to explore now, and it's time for them to venture out on their own.  It's also time for pups to start keeping their bed clean, so I'll take the carpet out of the box, line it with paper, and give them a rug to sleep on.  It's amazing how quickly pups learn to be clean!

I'm going to try a litter tray with this group, something I have never done before.  Stay tuned.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oh, So Lazy!

Such lazy puppies!  This is just about the most laidback group I've ever seen.  Only Jack is always up and about, although the others are slowly catching up with him.  The two girls Summit and Schell(y) are becoming more active, but Fulton and Surly are still slugs.  Fulton and Surly are also the chubbiest pups, so there is probably a relationship there.  What a life - eat, sleep, play for 5 minutes, sleep, eat, sleep, play for 5 minutes, sleep . . .

The pups are amazingly cute now during their 5 minutes of activity!  They walk quite well, love to explore, wrestle a bit, and are very good at falling asleep on your lap.  Eyes were open on everyone yesterday, although Fulton's were only open about half way.  Haven't noticed any blue eyes, but I'll check more thoroughly tonight.  Nose trim is complete on all pups now - Fulton's hadn't moved much for a week or so, then suddenly the brown pigment spread across the remaining pink on his nose in just a few days.

Company this weekend to see the pups, but the big dogs all thought it was for them and had a great time mugging the guests.  Max will be a year old tomorrow, and this is a good time for him to meet lots of new people.  Like his father Argus, he's bad about jumping on people - we had this sort of under control while we were attending obedience classes, but everyone he meets encourages him to jump up so it's a lost cause for now.  Heather will visit with the girls tonight, so Fern will go nuts and turn into a whirling dervish when she sees her friends again!

All 5 pups still look gorgeous, but once they are up and about we'll start evaluating the things that will separate show potential from companion dogs.

Be patient, please!